Ed Friend gets probation

Friend ‘misunderstood his authority,’ tried to help citizens

By Nathan Kraatz - nkraatz@civitasmedia.com

WILMINGTON — Ed Friend, the former village administrator of Clarksville, was sentenced Monday to two years’ community control sanctions for a fourth-degree felony charge of tampering with records.

Clinton County Common Pleas Judge John W. “Tim” Rudduck found Friend, 51, of Clarksville, guilty in February. Friend was found guilty of altering or falsifying water bills for village residents, resulting in $23,605 of waived bills.

“The court finds no documented personal monetary gain accrued to defendant,” the sentencing order read. “Rather, it appears defendant misunderstood his authority under his public position and unilaterally attempted to help citizens in the village by reducing their water bills at village expense.”

The order also said Friend was willing to make restitution but no such request was made; insurance covered “most or all” of the claimed loss to the village, court records say.

Rudduck also imposed a suspended six-month jail term. Friend will be supervised by probation officers, comply with the rules of probation and pay a $1,000 fine.

Violation of the terms could result in more restrictive sanctions, a longer sanction or an 11-month prison term.

In a press release last year, Ohio State Auditor Dave Yost attributed the damages to weak financial controls and said some of those deals benefited family and friends.

Three of those include a former village fiscal officer, according to Yost’s press release, and two former mayors, court documents show. Suellentrop said testimony at court revealed that individual residents didn’t request the adjustments nor knew what Friend was doing.

Yost’s initial press release said neither village council nor its water committee approved the changes; only Friend reviewed them.

Reach Nathan Kraatz at 937-382-2574, ext. 2510 or on Twitter @NathanKraatz.

Friend ‘misunderstood his authority,’ tried to help citizens

By Nathan Kraatz